KARACHI: Pakistan will be importing rental power plants from Turkey and a shipment is due in Karachi soon, said federal minister Raja Pervez Ashraf while talking to the media at Chief Minister House after a cabinet meeting Monday.
The minister said, however, that the government has not postponed buying electricity from Iran, but it will take around five years to come through. The country has been able to save 800MW by closing markets at 8 pm. When target killings and the local government system were brought up at the cabinet meeting, the president said that all coalition partners would have to agree before they went ahead and everyone should be consulted. The members of the Sindh government were instructed to speak to everyone before making any decisions.
The chief minister briefed the president on the government’s two-year performance and progress reports were presented by the departments of Food, Education, Works and Services, Health, Irrigation, Rural Development, Prisons, Home and Industries. No media briefings were arranged. Ashraf told the media that Kalabagh dam would not be built unless the provinces agreed to it. He added to a question that spillways have been created in Hunza Lake and the situation is under control.
The levels in Tarbela and Mangla are increasing and the president will inaugurate Bhasha dam next week. Officials in the Sindh government said that the president wanted a committee of treasury and opposition members to monitor the process of provincial autonomy “Don’t trust the bureaucracy, the president said during the meeting,” Online reported. Later while talking to the media, food minister Nadir Magsi said that he told the president that they had met 80 per cent of their buying target for wheat. Despite a shortage of water, there were bumper crops for wheat, sugar and cotton in Sindh.
As the food department does not have enough warehouses to stock its wheat, it took the cabinet meeting as an opportunity to ask the president to request the Trading Corporation of Pakistan warehouses to help. Magsi claimed that the food department has paid the farmers for wheat at Rs950 per maund. Masgi said that the president noted that Hyderabad has been neglected by past governments and new development schemes should be started there. There are plans to also start up small dams.
The president was also given a briefing about Thar coal and a specimen was presented to him by the CM. Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah told the president that 53,000 people had been given jobs and 51,000 youngsters had been trained and given stipends. In order to reduce poverty, the government had given women seeds and fertiliser and 25 acres of land, of which 4 acres have been cultivated for them. Rural development minister Zubair Ahmed said that the president ordered a development scheme in every district of the province.
Online reported that the president was unhappy with the performance of some ministers. He told them that those who were ready to serve the people could stay and the others could quit. The president directed that jail reforms need to be implemented and people who were given houses under the Behan Benazir Basti Scheme should be given free solar cookers. Minister for Communication and Works Manzoor Wasan said that 2,060 kilometres of road have been constructed in the province during 2008-2009 and 5,000 kilometres of farmto- market roads will be completed by June. Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan was at the meeting.
Sources said that during the meeting some members raised the water accord of 1991 according to which Sindh is entitled to 10 million acre feet from downstream Kotri. They complained that it was not being implemented. The president is said to have responded that there was a water crisis which is why it was difficult to implement the accord. He told them that the province should come up with its own strategy to manage its water resources. He told the chief minister that canals have to be lined to prevent a waste of irrigation water.
Sources said that a delegation led by Sadarrudin Rashidi of the Pakistan Muslim League- Functional met the president and brought up their feeling of being ignored as a coalition partner. They also have problems when they need to get work done with different departments and ministers. Afterwards, the PML-F’s Imtiaz Shaikh said that during the meeting the president assured them that work would start on Shah Latif Campus in Shikapur soon. “The university will be established by the name of Shaikh Ayaz,” he said.
A four-member delegation of the Awami National Party (ANP) met President Asif Ali Zardari at Prime Minister House on Monday. President Zardari assured the ANP officials that Karachi would soon be made a weaponsfree trade zone after consensus is reached with all parties, the ANP’s general secretary Ameen Khattak told The Express Tribune while referring to his conversation. He added that the president also promised the delegation that all issues will be resolved through mutual consensus. The delegation discussed the security situation, local government issues and electricity problems with President Zardari. The party leaders also requested him to take a decision on the distribution Karachi into five districts.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 18th, 2010.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ